Update: EA has issued a statement to 1UP on the lawsuit. Tiffany Steckler said, "The complaint and its 20 year-old claim are utterly without merit."
Original Story: Electronic Arts already has to contend with both an NFL lockout that could seriouslyimpede sales of Madden NFL 12 and activists upset with a potential cover athlete for the game, and now one of the series' original creators has filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that it owes him millions of dollars in royalties.
Robin Antonick's lawsuit was filed this week requesting a jury trial in California, Reuters reports. According to him, he signed a contract with EA in 1986 that dictated he be owed royalties on derivative versions of the game. He claims that he helped to develop the original game, John Madden Football, which was released in 1988 for Apple II, Commodore 64, and MS-DOS. Despite the increasing complexity of the series (it might still be football, but it's a much different game), Antonick believes the series continues to build on his creation.
"Only recently, as a result of publicity surrounding the 20th Anniversary of the 'Madden' videogame did Antonick become aware that Electronic Arts did not independently develop subsequent versions of its Madden NFL software," the complaint states. "Instead, according to recent statements by Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, the current generation of software apparently derived from software developed by Antonick."
Antonick says his last royalty payment came in 1992 and that he had been unaware "Electronic Arts decided that it did not want to share profits with him even though he was responsible for the development of virtually all of the ground-breaking technology at the heart of the game."
Confidential negotations are said to have taken place in recent years, the Reuters story notes. With those talks apparently having failed, he is now seeking tens of millions in royalties. He's also after disgorgement, which is a fancy way of saying that EA would be forced to submit profits that it has obtained illegally or unethically.